Egyptian Goose

The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) is a member of the family Anatidae. It is part of the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae, and the sole member of the genus Alopochen.

This locally abundant species is widely distributed across Africa except in deserts and dense forests. They are found mostly in the Nile Valley and south of the Sahara. It has also been introduced elsewhere; Great Britain has a self-sustaining feral population, dating back to the 18th century, though only formally added to the British list in 1971. In Britain, it is found mainly in East Anglia, in parkland with lakes.

This is a largely terrestrial species, but will also perch readily on trees and buildings. It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck, hence the English name.

This species is quite territorial during the breeding season, and will nest in a large variety of situations.

The sexes of this striking 63-73 cm long species are identical in plumage, though the males are slightly larger. There is a fair amount of variation in plumage tone, with some birds greyer and others browner, but this is not sex or age related.

Egyptian geese eat seeds, leaves, grasses, and plant stems, and on occasion locusts, worms, or other small animals.

Egyptian geese were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians, and appeared in much of their artwork.